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Big Girl is not a wiggler. She gets a loose tooth and just leaves it alone. She doesn’t ask us to wiggle it, either. She just waits around until it falls out. That’s why Tooth Number One got swallowed with a bite of bagel as did Tooth Number 4. (And why she let me pull Teeth Numbers 5 and 6.) Her teeth also take a long time to get loose. Take Tooth Number 7 as an example.

That tooth was a stubborn one. It refused to come out even though its adult tooth companion had already broken through the gum and was sitting there just waiting to move into its spot. When Big Girl let me give it a wiggle I realized it was barely moving. That was January. In February, we went to the dentist who told us that even though the other tooth was already up we should wait a month or so. It might fall out on its own. It just wasn’t loose enough to pull, she said. We waited. A month. Two months. Finally, last week I realized that it was time for a dental intervention. That tooth had to come out loose or not.

Our appointment was at 4:20 on Monday. We got there, and went right in. My husband left work early to meet us there. Big Girl is not exactly a calm child, and getting a tooth pulled — especially one that really wasn’t that wiggly — would require both parents, I thought. The dentist spent the first 20 minutes discussing tools, numbing agents, and what “pins and needles feeling (from the anesthetic gel)” meant. Then, when she felt like Big Girl was properly prepared, the dentist swabbed Big Girl’s gum with the anesthetic gel. All hell broke loose. She didn’t like the feeling. Her tongue felt funny. Oh, my gosh, it’s horrible, she screamed. The dentist, bless her, told Big Girl to rinse her mouth out to get rid of the gel. By this time my husband was there. We looked at each other and nodded. That tooth had to come out. We asked the dentist to give it another try.

We’re all standing there now, willing this thing to move forward. My husband is holding Big Girl’s hand. I’m offering my cell phone (for Angry Birds), ice cream afterward, anything, really to avoid the fate of going to an oral surgeon. We’re 30 minutes into the fracas at this point when I get an inspiration: I’d give Big Girl some Reiki as the dentist did her work. I suggested it. Big Girl loved the idea, and the dentist was game. I took a position above my daughter’s head, took a deep breath, and started the energy flowing out of my hands and into my little girl.

It was like a switch. Once the energy started, Big Girl instantly calmed down enough to let the dentist put the scary, sharp-looking tool resembling a tiny crowbar into her mouth, prodding into her gum. One good push, which I felt in my left hand even though it hovered above her head. Oww, Big Girl said, but she let the doctor keep going after taking a few breaths and shedding a few tears. A second good push. More owws, more pains in my hand, more words of encouragement all around. Finally, a third big jab of the tool, and the tooth was out. Blood gushed everywhere. The dentist told Big Girl to stay still so she could get the tooth. (Come to think about it, this reminds me of my birth story with Little Girl!) The dentist retrieved the tooth, and soon after were on our way out of there. My Big Girl missing one more tooth, and me marveling over the power of energy.

How is is possible that a 7-year-old was able to undergo dental work without Novocaine or even topical anesthetic? How is it possible that I was able to do Reiki and help her through it? Honestly, even though I gave birth using HypnoBirthing — twice! — it still freaks me out when I think about how strong the mind is. In this case, was it really the power of my mind channeling calming, pain-eradicating Reiki or my Big Girl’s mind being able to block out the pain? I guess we’ll never know, but I am so glad that tooth is out, and so is she. She netted $20 from the Tooth Fairy, BTW. She earned it, we all agreed. Don’t you think?

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